New DNA Evidence May Free Man In Jail

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He was convicted of murder, but he could soon be a free man. New evidence may clear Tim Kennedy's name. He has been behind bars for 13 years, serving life for the 1991 murders of Jennifer Carpenter and Steve Staskiewicz in Old Colorado City.

DNA found at the murder scene reportedly doesn't belong to the suspect. It's outlined in these court documents obtained by 11 News. It’s just one of the reasons an El Paso County judge recently ordered a new trial.

The background information on this case is that in March of 1991, the bodies of 15-year-old Jennifer Carpenter and 37-year-old Steve Staskiewicz were discovered. Court papers say the teen's parents abandoned her. She was living with her much older boyfriend when the two were shot to death in their home.

Timothy Kennedy was arrested almost five years later and charged with murder. "This guy truly is innocent," said John Dicke. He is Kennedy's lawyer now. He didn't represent him during the 1997 trial. For the past 3 years, he's been digging through boxes of evidence.

"It was a convenience. The prosecution and conviction were out of convenience because Tim Kennedy's gun was the murder weapon. It sounds bad, but it’s not nearly so ominous. He was best friends with the two victims." Dicke says Kennedy even gave them his gun so the couple could protect themselves. In those court papers, Jennifer Carpenter was a victim and key witness in a pending kidnapping and sex assault case. Investigators were tipped off that one or both of the suspects in that case had arranged for Jennifer to be killed by hitmen, but Dicke believes prosecutors just focused on Kennedy because it was his gun that was used.

"There was no DNA (in the case) because in 1997, skin cell DNA was just becoming recognized, so we hired the best skin cell people in the world, Richard and Selma Eikelenboom. They did 86 samples and swabs of clothing, rings and boots from the victims. Turns out, Kennedy's DNA was no where on any places,” said Dicke.

“We have to get him out."

Dicke says he's confident that Tim Kennedy will be proven innocent and will be a free man again after 13 years behind bars.

The district attorney, Dan May, says he can't comment. Dicke tells 11 News there are two options now: the case goes to trial in the next six months or the D.A.’s office could drop the charges.

We’re told that El Paso County Sheriff detectives are meeting with the district attorney's office this week.

Dicke says there was some other DNA found at the scene, and he says so far, the D.A.’s office has not tested that against any other possible suspects.

The forensics team working on Kennedy's case also cleared Tim Masters of a wrongful murder charge. He was the Fort Collins man freed from jail in 2008 after serving 9 years behind bars for the murder of Peggy Hettrick. DNA pointed to another suspect.